Feature Article

August 08, 2019

How to Use a VPN on Your Android Devices to Unblock Restricted Content



When you’re traveling outside of the country and want to watch streaming video, you may have trouble doing so.  Many of the subscription services geoblock content.  That means to watch services like Hulu, for example, you have to be in the U.S. or one of the U.S. territories in order to access it.

Other streaming channels will restrict content to viewers within defined geographic areas even when you are within the U.S. depending on copyright laws.

There’s good news, though.  There are two ways to unblock this content and bypass a service’s geo-blocking:  Using Proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Proxy Tools

An anonymous proxy tool can serve as a middleman when connecting to the internet.  Through software, a proxy hides your device’s IP address and substitutes to own before connecting to a website.  When the website is served, it goes through the proxy server which forwards it to you.

If you’re out of the country, it’s only going to work to bypass U.S. geoblock filters if the proxy has a U.S. server.

This may work for you, but it’s not a guarantee.  Streaming services discourage using proxies and are pretty good about detecting when one is used.  Since there are a limited number of IP addresses each service uses, they can get blocked quickly.  This means you may have to go through several different proxies – and change them regularly – to find one that will do the job.

Virtual Private Network

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a more reliable way to access blocked streaming content.  In addition to masking your IP address when you connect to the internet, it also encrypts your data as it’s sent or received.

A VPN creates a private tunnel between you and the VPN server.  Streaming providers will not see you.  Instead, they will see the VPN servers IP address.  Since your data and ID is encrypted, this adds another layer of protection to keep your identity private.

Both Proxies and VPNs will work on your Android device to unblock restricted content, but proxies will take a lot of trial and error.  We should point out that neither of these solutions will work to access streaming content on a subscription service like Hulu or Netflix if you don’t have a subscription.

What To Look For In An Android VPN

If you’re trying to find the right VPN for your Android device, you may find a significant number of options out there.  Not all of them will work.  Most of the free services are only free for a very short trial period.  Some of the VPN apps that claim to be free have been loaded up with ad tracking and even malware.

Other VPNs will log your traffic.  While they mask your identity, they make money by selling your data which defeats the purpose of using a VPN.  Yet others will use your device’s processing power which they sell to paying customers.

When comparing VPNs, here are the key things you want to examine:

  1. Device Compatibility:  Make sure the VPN you choose works with your Android device
  2. Strong Encryption and No Logging:  You want a VPN that will not log your online behavior.  If they don’t make it clear in their policies, they likely keep a log.  You also want strong encryption of at least AES 256-bit.
  3. Speed and Bandwidth:  Since all of your data is being routed through an encrypted server, speed can be an issue.  Others will throttle your bandwidth or limit the amount of bandwidth you can use.  Unlimited bandwidth and no throttling is best, but that may also impact the cost.
  4. Network scope:  The more servers that you can choose, the better chance you have that one will work and help your bypass blocks.


 


 





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